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3-month-old conjoined twins separated in historic surgery

FORT WORTH, Texas (KETK) — Two conjoined twin girls who shared a liver were successfully separated Monday in a Texas hospital.

According to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, JamieLynn and AmieLynn Finley were separated after an 11-hour procedure performed by a team of 25 medical professionals and six surgeons in the hospital’s first-ever separation procedure.

Officials with the hospital said Thursday that the twins continue to be in good health after the separation.

“The twins are doing great, resting and recovering,” media relations specialist Kim Brown said.

The girls, who are nearly 4 months old, were joined at their abdomen, from their breastbone to their bellybutton, causing them to share internal organs, including their liver.

The twins’ medical team decided the time was right for the girls to be separated due to their anatomy and growth support.

“While separate, their hearts are exceedingly close together and grow ever closer as the girls age,” officials with the hospital said before the separation. “While the girls are thriving in the NICU, they are not growing at the same rate, partly because they share some blood supply.”

JamieLynn and AmieLynn were born prematurely at 34 weeks on Oct. 3 and were moved to the NICU at Cook Children’s, where they have remained since November. Dr. Ben Gbulie, with Posh Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Mansfield, Texas, consulted with the family about separation and directed them to Cook Children’s for the surgery.

“If you can get the same quality of care where you live, it’s always better because you want to be able to have long-term follow-up,” Gbulie said. “While this is a major, complex operation, it is not something that is beyond what I felt Cook Children’s could do.”

Because the surgery was high risk and required surgeons to dissect the liver, officials said bleeding and infection are the main concerns that will be monitored weeks into recovery.

“I’m very hopeful that they’re going to have a good recovery and lead healthy lives in the future,” said Dr. Jose Iglesias, medical director of pediatric surgery at Cook Children’s. “They’re going to have a bit of a ramp up from the recovery, but I think they’re going to be able to get there eventually, and very close to normal if not completely normal.”

The girls’ mother, Amanda Arciniega, and father, James Finley, were able to visit their daughters in separate beds an hour after the surgery and, for the first time, had to divide their attention between the two.

“I would not have thought in a million years that I would have twins,” Arciniega said. “And then conjoined twins on top of that.”

Fox 8 News Channel

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